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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Originally broadcast back in 1990 this is a superior Agatha Christie story handled expertly by dramatist Michael Bakewell and regular Agatha Christie radio drama director Enyd Williams.
As someone who has enjoyed BBC radio drama for over 5 decades this is certainly in my top few plays to date. Yes, I did have an idea about who dunnit early on but I still found it a surprise as to why they dunnit!
The play is full of well known voices and Geoffrey Whitehead was excellent as Inspector Narracott. Listen out for that well known actor John Moffatt but not as Poirot this time. Archers fans will also recognise Jack May who was for many years Nelson Gabriel. This was a fast moving 2 hours plus and I will listen to the play again soon. Good value.
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on 27 December 2012
I've read this book before and both times enjoyed it. It is set in the times of a hard winter with a bit of the ouija board thrown in.

Based in a very remote part of Devon and near a prison to boot this story sets up many possibilities for a good adventure/mystery and doesn't fail. Plenty of intriguing characters to suspect and the murderer is certainly not the person I initially expected it to be despite having read it before.

Very good read and easy to get stuck into. Would recommend.
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on 13 April 2017
An enthralling Agatha Christie story that I so enjoyed, - all novels and plays by Agatha Christie never disappoint me.
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on 16 April 2013
One of Agatha Christie's good stories without Poirot or Miss Marple, well dramatised and acted. Not a masterpiece, but pleasant to listen to.
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on 29 June 2015
The Sittaford Mystery is a classic Agatha Christie puzzle. Isolated by a snow storm a small group of people hold a séance in which the death of Captain Trevelyan is announced. At approximately the same time, the Captain meets his demise. So barring the spirits being real, how could someone at the table know this? As Inspector Narracott investigates it becomes clear the residents of Sittaford are not all quite who they seem, but none seem to have a motive to murder the Captain. The pleasure in the story is the rum mix of characters - especially her amateur sleuth Emily Trefusis, most of whom Christie manages to move into the suspect’s frame, and the plotting wherein all the clues are present, but the reveal is still a surprise. The story is told in a light breezy manner and is entertaining fare.
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on 6 November 2011
The village of Sittaford is snowed in. The cast of characters are cut off in this hamlet in the middle of Dartmoor. Mrs Willet and her daughter Violet give an afternoon cocktail party where they decide to
divert themselves by "table turning". The table has a message for one of their guests that his friend Major Burnaby has been murdered. What are the Willets doing leaving South Africa to spend a winter in the snows of Dartmoor? There's even an escaped prisoner from a local jail on the loose. Mrs Curtis a local landlady is very concerned.
This is Dame Agatha at her best isolate the principles and move the characters around until - viola a solution and a darn clever one at that. A must for Christie fans. Make a cocoa, turn up the electric blanket and join in the fun. Don Wardell KWXY Radio Palm Springs, California.
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on 13 November 2016
Fantastic mystery. I particularly like this one as its location is isolated and there's a fantastic twist. Dame Christie sustains an sinister atmosphere. Definately one of my favourites.
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VINE VOICEon 6 April 2006
I don't personally tend to be very fond of the early Christie novels overall. They usually seem a bit lightweight, a bit too sparse and economical, and too full of Bright Young Things making glib jokes and arch comments all the time. There is a bit of that in 'The Sittaford Mystery', (published in 1931), but on the whole this is a very readable mystery novel. Set in a remote village on Dartmoor, a group of people are holding a seance in a snow-bound house, when a message comes through, seemingly from The Other Side, that one of their neighours, Captain Trevelyan, has been murdered. It turns out to be true, and that the murder happened at exactly the time it was revealed in the seance. When an amiable, but not terribly clever young man, James Pearson, is arrested for the murder, his resourceful fiancee sets out to catch the real culprit. I didn't guess the murderer at all in this one, and it was a genuine surprise. What I also liked was that there was no long-winded and highly complex reason as to why the murderer did it. The explanation when it comes is all too human, and very much par for the course in village life! We are led up plenty of garden paths and blind alleys in this one, but the conclusion is very satisfying.
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The Sittaford Mystery' (originally called 'The Murder at Hazelmoor') was published in 1931.
Mrs Willett and her daughter Violet, the new tenants of Sittaford House, invite four people to tea on Friday afternoon. Major Burnaby is a friend of Captain Trevelyan, who owns Sittaford House; the other three guests are Mr Rycroft, Mr Ronnie Garfield, and Mr Duke. Foolishly, they decide hold a séance and at 5.25 pm, they are told (apparently by a spirit) that Captain Trevelyan has just been murdered. Major Burnaby decides to walk six miles through heavy snow on the ground to find Trevelyan and check on his welfare, since there is no telephone and the conditions are impossible for a car. Just before 8 pm, he arrives at Hazelmoor, Trevelyan's home in Exhampton. No-one answers his knock and thepolice and a doctor enter the house and find Captain Trevelyan's corpse. He died between 5 and 6 pm...
There are, as usual with Agatha Christie, many twists and turns in the plot and a very ingenious ending. Her characters are interesting and she is a shrewd observer of human nature, especially when she is writing about her own upper middle class.
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on 11 September 2000
This Radio 4 dramatisation is much, much better than the original novel, but then the original novel is an awful mess that reads like it is two disorganised novelettes badly sewn together. This play is far more coherent than the novel, the scriptwriter has managed to whip the the plot and characters into shape; but what a strange choice it is for a dramatisation... If they wanted to dramatise an eerie Agatha Christie with a strong whiff of the supernatural, there are so many other, better, books they could have taken. What about doing The Mysterious Mr Quinn? There aren't enough Harlequin/Detectives in English literature, and we should make the most of the ones we have.
Be that as it may, this is an enjoyable play. The Sittaford Mystery centres around the death of an irrascable old landlord whose death is foretold by an ouija board at a party held by his own tenants. Entire communities are snowed in; there are escaped convicts scampering about Dartmoor; desperately needy people inherit large sums of money; mysterious foreigners abound; everybody is under suspicion; and bright young thing Emily Trefusis is looking for a husband. So all the elements for a romp through Agatha-Christie-land are present and a rollicking good time is had by all.
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